James M. Toppa Sr. Memorial Fantasy Football League

2017 Power Rankings – Week 5

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Dog Shit of the Week

Bruce Arena. I assume that after waking up yesterday, turning on the 7am SportsCenter and seeing Tayler Twellman apoplectic, Woody sent me this:

I got you buddy. Here’s a bedtime story you can tell Mary:

There once was a king of a far away land known as Soccertowne, King Bruce. Now this king was not very smart and often ruled his subjects in ways that didn’t make sense. Soccertowne was under attack from many dragons, and it was up to King Bruce to protect Soccertowne. Soccertowne had been almost destroyed from attacks of other dragons, many dragons that the King Bruce and his knights should have beaten in battle.

But things were starting to turn around in Soccertowne. When it looked like Soccertowne would be lost, the king’s best knight, Sir Pulisic of Dortmund, a young talented knight, the best knight Soccertowne had ever seen, killed an attacking dragon. Now the king and his knights could protect Soccertowne once and for all by travelling to the barren lair of a very weak, wimpy dragon. But King Bruce’s plan of attack was all wrong. Instead of having Sir Pulisic on the front lines, attacking the dragon, like he did in the previous battle, King Bruce put him around the sides of the dragon’s lair, and he could not attack the dragon as often as he should have. King Bruce also put his favorite knight, Sir Bradley, son of Bob, in charge of the catapult. Long ago, in a time when Soccertowne was not the most powerful kingdom in the land, Sir Bradley was a good knight. But Sir Bradley had gotten old, and his aim is not as good as it used to be, and all his catapult missiles were nowhere near the wimpy dragon. The wimpy dragon saw that King Bruce’s plan was all wrong and went on the attack towards Soccertowne. King Bruce’s defense was flawed. The castle walls were poorly constructed and full of holes. The guards always looked in the wrong direction.

The last line of defense for Soccertowne was the old wizard Tim. The old wizard had pulled off some amazing displays of magic to protect Soccertowne in the past, but Tim was not as quick as he once was. He could not grab his wizard staff fast enough to save Soccertowne. The weak dragon attacked, and suddenly Soccertowne was in flames. How could this happen? Sir Pulisic struck the dragon with a mighty blow, but it was not enough. And suddenly, two more dragons attacked Soccertowne. A Blue Dragon of Hondur and a Panamanian Red Dragon both swept in and attacked Soccertowne. King Bruce’s knights shouldn’t have had to worry about these two dragons since they had done battle with them before, but since they retreated from that battle, those dragons were still somehow alive. Somehow the Red Dragon blew a fireball that didn’t actually hit any Soccertowne houses, but still they caught on fire. Soccertowne was fully engulfed in flames. There was no way to put the fire out.

Now the kingdom of Soccertowne is no more. They had no chance of becoming one of the great kingdoms in the World of Cup. King Bruce stands in his kingdom of ash “claiming nothing had to change.”

“But doesn’t it?” the townspeople asked. “Shouldn’t a king tasked with vanquishing dragons, defeat more than 3 dragons, when going to battle 10 times?” It’s time for a new king; one the townspeople deserve. A king who knows the value of Sir Pulisic of Dortmund and puts him in the center of the battlefield. A king who knows better ways to raise the townspeople to be better knights. A king who no longer depends on old knights who do battle in the League of Major, but those who are young and strong enough to do battle in Germania and Albion. Soccertowne needs a new king.

There is no happy ending to this fairy tale.

And now the adult version:

Fuck this fucking fuck with a thousand fuck poles. ARENA OUT* Are you fucking kidding me?!!??! (I have now reached the “anger” level of my grief) How do you lose to Trinidad & Tobago?!? A country has the GDP of Vermont and the population of New Hampshire?! This shit face had one thing to do, and that was to: Not. Lose. But he did. He managed to lose to the worst team in our really terrible qualifying group.

*For my less-soccer savvy readers, this is a very british way of calling for a soccer manager to be fired (or sacked, as they say). Arsenal fans have been chanting “Wenger out!” weekly, for almost 5 years.

On Friday, with our backs up against the wall, the United States HAD to win to stay alive in World Cup qualifying. What happened? Arena played our best player, Pulisic (this isn’t even blowing smoke, he is the best player on the field in 90% of CONCACAF games), in the center of the field, where he dictated the game, got a ton of touches, controlled the tempo of the game (read: pushed the ball up field and attacked), showed great chemistry with the two forwards, ended up scoring a brilliant goal, making a hell of an assist on another one, and the USA won 4-0.

So now, we go to fucking Trinidad, or Tobago, or maybe both, but instead of playing the exact same lineup that won 4-0 and showed great chemistry, Bruce Arena decided to stinker-tinker with the lineup. And he may as well have taken that shit on the field. He played Pulisic on the right wing. Playing your best player on the wing does two things to your team, both of which are bad. One, when your best player is resigned to ⅓ of the field, instead of playing in the center of it, he has less chances to touch the ball and then create opportunities with it. Two, if said best player is standing out on the wing, he’s much easier to play defense against, rather than if he’s in the middle of the field, switching places with other fielders, and generally getting into trouble. When he’s in the center of the field, it also draws attention away from other players, who can get open for good chances. THIS IS NOT FUCKING NEW!!! Goddammit!!!! This isn’t even specific to soccer! This is like sticking Lebron or Russell in the corner to shoot threes. Hmmmm get my best player the ball as much as possible??!? No, that sounds like a silly idea. FUCK YOU!

Also, the rest CONCACAF has figured out a way to play Pulisic and that’s to beat the shit out of him. I blame Arena for this too. He should be BERATING the refs from start to finish about this. As should “Oh captain, my motherfucking poor excuse for a captain,” Michael Bradley. Also our huge defensemen, like Omar Gonzalez and Geoff Cameron should get up in the faces of the guys who hit him that hard. It’s painfully obvious how deliberate the other team is being in kicking the shit out of our best player. Grow a pair! Back the kid up!

There’s a part of me that’s like, “Well maybe this is the wake up call the US needs for soccer.” Burn it all to the ground. Start over with a new plan. Get rid of Arena. Get rid of Sunil Gulati (the president of US Soccer). This is on him too. We should all remember that the issue went back to Jurgen Klinsmann, who couldn’t find a lineup he liked in 5 years. Gulati then replaced him with Bruce Arena, a guy who wasn’t great at his job THE FIRST TIME (back in the late 90s & early 2000s). And we all went, “Oh, I don’t really like this idea. He’s clearly not the coach of the future, but he’ll right the ship, get us into the World Cup. Then who knows? Maybe we’ll get into the quarterfinals, which we’ll count as a win. Then afterwards, we’ll replace him with the true savior of US Soccer.” What kind of fucked up plan is that?! This was the coaching version of a rebound. Except the sex wasn’t even good. We just watched Netflix and literally chilled. But it wasn’t even good Netflix, we watched all 8 seasons of Bones.

But the other part of me… Oh, the other part of me gets dark. As you now know, the US is not in the World Cup this summer. The World Cup is the perfect storm for US Soccer. It’s in the middle of summer, during the day, so it’s not competing against other sports, and the sport is easy enough to understand that anyone can jump in every 4 years, follow along and chant “USA! USA!” It’s an actual excuse to cut out of work and go day drink in the middle of June. Now, that’s no longer a thing. Sure, people will watch. I’ll watch it all. But I love soccer. However, I’m gonna have a much harder time pulling Woody to the bar to watch a game if the US isn’t playing, even if it’s a team like Brazil.

Even worse, there is a whole generation of 6-10 year olds that would’ve watched and rooted for Christian Pulisic go up against the best in the world. They would’ve wanted to be like him. They would’ve started juggling in the backyard and kicking a ball against the house. The soccer fans (and more importantly, players) of my generation remember the ‘94 USA team. We went to the quarterfinals when we had no business being there. We all remember Alexi Lalas, Ernie Stewart, Joe-Max Moore, Cobi Jones, Marcelo Balboa, Eric Wynalda and Toni Meola’s mullet beating Columbia in the Rose Bowl. What will this generation remember? What will be their denim colored, stars and stripes jersey?

So blow it all up. Fire Arena. Fire Gulati. Fuck it, make Clint Dempsey the coach. Say “thanks, but see ya later” to Michael Bradley and Tim Howard and Jozy Altidore and 100-year-old DeMarcus Beasley and Wondo and Zusi. Build the team around Pulisic. And fuck the goddamn MLS.

This week’s level: I can’t hear the conversation because of all this bullshit in my ears.

A memorandum from the desk for Roger Goodell:

So let me get this straight. A protest, which by its very definition is to speak out against something, and therefore begin a dialogue, is a “barrier to having conversations”? Is it? How so? How is players kneeling and/or holding their fists up (which is weird it’s getting lumped in with the kneeling thing) acting as a “barrier” for the owners and commissioner to have a discussion on police brutality in America? There’s a lot of words in the letter above, so I’ll give you the abridged version: “Players kneeling during the anthem is giving us a lot of bad press that we don’t want. Many players want to have a conversation about how they feel, but that conversation is really hard, so let’s just make this all go away, instead.”

I think we need one of those bullshit CNN townhalls for this. Let’s put Richard Sherman, Michael and Martellus Bennet up on a stage with Double J and have them answer a couple debate questions. I bet the players would stop kneeling for a chance at that shit. Let’s put Marshawn Lynch up there too, just to liven things up a bit.

Week 5 #PowerRankings

It was a low scoring week. This week’s average score was less than 130 points. Only two teams managed to score 150 points this week, and they ended up playing each other. We’ve also got a bit more consistency this week in the top, and bottom, of the league with the best and worst teams standing pat.

12. Patsfaninthecloset

Did you enjoy apple picking this weekend? Or did you go to a pumpkin patch with your kids instead? Maybe you went on a hike. Or perhaps you went to Cardi’s to get a new dresser or bed frame that you’ve needed for a while. I tell you what, you’ll be glad you did, because the football was pretty bad this weekend. God Bless Chris Hanson for giving me the hard sell. He told me we had “2 games that weren’t close, but every other game is a one possession game.” Meanwhile looking at the screen showed me two games where there wasn’t a single touchdown scored and three others that were tied at 10. Hooo-eee. That’s some good football!!

Micho had 6 players score 5 or less points this week. Micho’s team has dropped 4 in a row and is averaging 108 points per week. He’s also got like 7 guys in his starting lineup that if I saw a picture of them, I’d have no idea who they were.

11. Beat Micho-gan

I was at a bar watching football a week or two ago, and one of the guys I was with sees the commercial for the new Jackie Chan movie, and turns to me and goes “Jackie Chan has a new movie?!” We then proceeded to have a 30 minute conversation about how awesome Jackie Chan is. I didn’t used to think he was that awesome because I only knew him as Rush Hour Jackie Chan, where he was goofy and I did not understand the words coming out of his mouth. But since then, I’ve seen more of his movies, and I’ll tell you what, Jackie Chan kicks fucking ass. Watch Supercop, The Legend of Drunken Master and Rumble in the Bronx. He whips so many dudes asses in the most creative ways. Also he gets hurt like so many times doing those stunts and keeps doing them, it’s awesome. I love that dude. Now he gets his own version of Taken. And it’s 78% on Rotten Tomatoes. Sign me up.

Beat Micho-gan, is starting to look more like Be Micho Again. That pun needs work. Oh well, JeffWho’s team is not very good. He and Micho have the two lowest point totals in the league and are the only two teams yet to score 600 points. And just in case you wanted more examples of their crappiness they have the 2nd and 4th lowest Points Against totals, meaning their losses aren’t just bad luck, they’re just plain bad.

10. FuseLitHugeDick

You may have noticed that I make a pick each week for the Thursday games, as well as the London games if they’re happening. Last year, I went 10-6-1. If I actually gambled, I’d have made a nice little pile of money. This year, if you’ve been paying attention to my picks, you’d be making a lot more money… by betting the exact opposite of what I pick. I am currently 2-5-0. Maybe Boom Boom was right to get mad for listening to me.

FuseLitLimpDick more like it! Timmy failed to score a hundred points this week as he lost to Woody 126.35 – 98.35. Ten of Timmy’s starting twelve players failed to score double digits this week. Four of them scored under 4.

9. CheesyGorditaCruch

Thursday Night Football is fucking with my eyes, and I’m not talking about ColorRush. The down and distance is on the left side of the score bar at the bottom of the screen. Fox, CBS, NBC, and ESPN on the other hand, all have the down and distance on the RIGHT side of the score bar thingy. So, for 94% of all football games I watch, if I’m wondering what down it is and how far to go for a first down, I look to the bottom right side of the screen. But for Thursday Night Football, I have to look to the goddamn lower left. I can’t reteach myself how to watch football! I spent the entire 3rd quarter of the Pats-Bucs game thinking it was 3rd down. Big play here, it’s 3rd and 8:09 to go.

After scoring over 160 points last week, and thrashing me by almost 20 points. JBiggs could only manage 111 points this week. You couldn’t have laid this egg last week? JBiggs saw Amari Cooper and Randall Cobb combine for 5 catches for 37 yards (3.70 points), and had his two LBs total 5 solo and 5 assisted tackles (6 points combined).

8. Halftime in Cinci

This week in”What the fuck?!! How is anyone supposed to be any good at Fantasy?”: The following players were the top-6 tight ends in fantasy last week: Ed Dickson, Darren Fells, George Kittle, Cameron Brate, Zach Ertz and David Njoku. Those 6 players combined for over 100 points. 4 of those 6 guys were not on anyone’s team. At the time, Dickson was 4% owned, Fells was 0%, Kittle was 1% and Njoku was owned by 7% of all fantasy players.

Tough break for PWood. In a week where he put up the second highest total, he ran up against Brendo, who happened to put up 9 points better. PWood is now 1-4 and is by far the most unlucky team in the league. He’s had 742 points scored against him (that’s almost 150 points per week!) so far this season. That’s 30 points more than the next worst team. He’s on pace to have 1930 points scored on him this year, which would be worst in the league by more than 100 points.

7. Finding Foerster

I love me some color Rush, but maybe white isn’t the best idea:

I’m just really happy Nike put another layer of material in the butts.

Oooooohhh yeah! There’s nothing I love more than a team name change. It’s the sure fire way to put an end to a losing streak. Good quality pun too! I had to look up what it meant, but that’s because all the headlines I’d seen were more of the “Miami Offensive Coach Loves Lines” variety. Buckets won by not really getting any good performances from his team, besides 34 (!!) points from the Jacksonville defense. But hey, a win is a win.

6. Dessert First

Not to go full beer nerd on you but… this commercial drives me nuts:

First, please allow me to go quintessential Twitter:


You don’t need rice to make beer. In fact, you probably shouldn’t use it, since it doesn’t add any flavor or alcohol. It’s basically a filler. This is like saying “Man, I love me some General Tso’s chicken, especially when I get to eat all that white rice afterwards.”

Secondly, you NEED yeast to make beer. Yeast actually IS essential. If you don’t have yeast, your beer has neither alcohol nor carbonation. It doesn’t get you drunk and doesn’t have all those fun bubbles for your tongue. Instead, it’s just yellow water. It’s piss. You would think that since many people make the comparison between Bud Light and piss, that they would try to highlight the one ingredient that actually differentiates them from piss.

Commish got 52 points from his defensive players this week in a 18-point beat down of Timmy. The Miami defense scored 30 points and Telvin Smith had 10 total tackles and a pick-6 to add 20 more points for Woody.

5. PowerFranks Gore

I bought 3 work shirts this week. Each one was 50% off with only $5 shipping and since I now spend like 70% of my life in a work shirt, spending 60 bucks is not that bad of a deal. But I agonized over this decision for like 3 days. I looked at all the sale’s offerings, then waited a day. Put 2 shirts in my cart, then removed one, then put 2 more in my cart. Then waited a day. Then checked my bank account. Then realized that at the end of the day, the sale would probably end, so I should take the deal and finally bought them. The following day, I went to a brewery and bought $120 worth of beer without even blinking. What the fuck is wrong with me?

Welp, it was fun while it lasted. It’s all coming crumbling down. I’ve fallen from first to fifth in 2 weeks. It was fun while it lasted, but this week my team could only muster up 109 points in a 30-point loss to JD. Deshaun Watson was the highest scoring player in the league this week, scoring 53.15 points. That however, was basically half my points, as I had 8 other players score 5 or less points.

4. Spoiler Alert

Micho gets a lot of shit for constantly having his phone in his hand. Or is that just me? But Vegas has a pretty itchy trigger finger too. Not only did he ruin this year’s Toppa Invite for everyone, he drops Woj bombs before Woj:

Check the timestamps. Vegas out here texting out hot news a full 15 minutes before media arm of the Red Sox, WEEI, can push out the news.

Vegas got things back on track this week with a 13-point victory over JeffWho. His three starting wide receivers (Antonio Brown, Tyreek Hill and Chris Hogan) combined for 50.90 points. Zeke Elliot tacked on 20.20 of his own.

3. Tiger’s Wood

RhysNice’s Parenting Tips: Since so many Toppa Leaguers now have children, I thought it might be helpful if I shared some tips to help these new parents get by. It’s said that one of the hardest parts about having a baby is the lack of sleep. Well, I don’t sleep, because sleep is the cousin of death. You know who said that? Nas. And he’s like a millionaire. So, problem solved.

Another week, another DeSantis DeSwap. JD bounced back from last week’s 118-point performance by putting up 144. Of course, those 118 points were a severe drop off from the 184 he put up the week before. He’s inconsistent, is what I’m saying. Meanwhile his brother lost this week. This is 5 weeks now. When people talk about 2017 being crazy, this is what they’re actually talking about.

2. #Brady40MainiHorny

Pizza Hut’s new slogan is “Nobody out Pizza’s the Hut” which is ironic, because literally everyone out pizza’s the hut. There are many, many, many pizza places in New York that out pizza the Hut. When I buy two large pizza’s for $15 from 2 Bros Pizza at 3am, and they give me more pizza slices than dollars I spend, even they are out pizza’ing the Hut. When I make english muffin pizzas in my toaster oven, I too am, in fact, out pizza’ing the Hut.

Also, it’s probably not a good idea to have a slogan that makes me think of this every time you say it.

#MainiMagic! It’s a thing. #Nick’s now won three straight. Each week he finds a different way to win. Whether it’s Cam Newton and LeSean McCoy combining for 44.75 points in Week 1, or Sammy Watkins and Devonta Freeman combining for 57.40 in Week 2. Last week, Keenan Allen and the Denver defense combined for 42.80. This week, it didn’t matter that Sammy Watkins scored 0 points, because Dak Prescott scored 36.25.

1. BigBrendoBrand

Big Brendo Brand is getting so big, I’m starting to see merch out here in the city:

Brendo put up back-to-back highest score of the week with 175 last week and 168 this week. Brendo’s now in first place at 4-1 with the second highest point total in the league.

Weekend Matchup to look out for:

4-1 BigBrendoBrand takes on 4-1 #Brady40MainiHorny. The winner goes to 5-1 and will be in first place all by themselves. Also, Commish takes on Vice-Commish in a match up of two 2-3 teams.

Philly (+3.5) takes on Carolina tonight. The Eagles will be wearing their traditional colors for their ColorRush uniforms… black. Sigh. Carolina will be in all blue. Enjoy the weekend!

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